web analytics
October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



From Darkness To Light

Lessons-logo

Aseres Yemei Teshuvah.

The mere mention of these three potent words invariably strikes fear into the hearts and souls of God-fearing Jews everywhere. Each weekday morning, the piercing cry of the shofar penetrates our collective consciousness and urges us to mend our ways, repent our transgressions and return wholeheartedly to our Father in Heaven.

For me, all of the above ring true every year – without fail. However, there is inevitably another stark image that is conjured up as well whenever I hear those three awe-inspiring words. They take me back 30 years to a very pivotal and grueling 10-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, one that will no doubt remain ingrained in my memory forever.

Baruch Hashem, I had been happily married for a few years and was the mother of an adorable toddler. We were living in Eretz Yisrael and, despite the challenges of being thousands of miles from family and friends, we felt very blessed indeed. Our bechor was quite a handful, but charming and endearing at the same time. In short, all was well in the world.

Well, almost. Only one recurring concern marred our otherwise blissful existence and threatened to inject an insidious undercurrent of discontent into the perfect pattern of our daily lives: Despite our fervent desire for more children, our son remained an only child.

Following month after month and year after year of disappointment, my pregnancy test yielded a positive result at long last. We were going to be parents once again! Our joy knew no bounds. Alas, it was pitifully short-lived. Almost immediately after receiving the results, complications set in, and my OB/GYN decided that I had to be hospitalized in the interim so that my condition could be monitored on a daily basis.

That is how I ended up spending the solemn period of Aseres Yemei Teshuvah, embarking on a life-altering journey – although I was physically ensconced in a hospital bed in the maternity ward of a Jerusalem hospital. In retrospect, it was definitely the “Ten Days of Teshuvah” that most epitomized the title and function of those holy days.

I was confined to bed for the entire time, allowed to rise only to shower and use the facilities. Other than during daily visits from my husband and son, and occasionally from other relatives, I spent virtually all my waking hours with a book in my hands – most often a siddur or Sefer Tehillim. And I davened with every fiber of my being, with tears rolling down my cheeks and genuine love and devotion in every word I uttered. Never before or since have I felt the awe and sanctity of those days in such a literal sense. It was an opportunity for the most exalted form of closeness and cleansing; I poured my entire neshamah into every word of every tefillah. And I felt Hashem’s presence so distinctly, a literal manifestation of “Shivisi Hashem l’negdi tamid.”

I have retained a few isolated, albeit crystal-clear, memories from those long-ago days. Most vivid among them was when our beloved aunt arrived one day wearing sunglasses to hide her unbridled emotions as she shared with me her own painful experiences from decades earlier. Then there was the anonymous roommate, experiencing her own pregnancy-related issues, who became a dear friend and confidante for decades after we bid farewell to those stark hospital corridors.

After the prescribed week and a half, it was all over. The 10 days had come to an end and almost immediately I was granted my reply. Sadly, it was not the response I was hoping for, not the reward I had envisioned. At the same time, I felt totally secure in the knowledge that this painful and unhappy outcome had come directly from the One Above. I knew that my tefillos and bakashos had been as sincere as humanly possible and had transformed me in the course of a mere week and a half to a better, more refined version of my previous self. I was likewise certain that it was not even remotely coincidental that my personal nisayon coincided precisely with the holiest days of the Jewish calendar.

While I was pained and disappointed that the child I dreamt for was no more, I exulted in the new improved me that had emerged as a result of my struggles. My arms remained achingly empty for now, but my heart and soul were full to overflowing with love and gratitude to my Creator and Judge.

My newfound perspective cast its rosy hues on the coming days and weeks, despite the heartache I had endured. And then, less than two months after my tragic loss, I was blessed with wonderful news. My ill-fated pregnancy had corrected an undiagnosed hormonal imbalance, and paved the way for future healthy pregnancies and babies. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of my dashed hopes and dreams, joy and wellbeing rose majestically and soared heavenward.

We were soon blessed with another beautiful son, followed over the years by many other Divine gifts of healthy sons and daughters. There were the inevitable bumps and detours along the way, including other losses and disappointments. But the Heavenly intuition I was privileged to glimpse while confined to that narrow hospital bed during that long-ago Aseres Yemei Teshuvah has remained with me in the ensuing decades – to light my way and illuminate my blessings.

From some of the darkest days of misery and uncertainty emerged the blindingly beautiful light of celebration and triumph.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “From Darkness To Light”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Judaism Stories
Greenbaum-102414

Noach was the lonely man of faith living in a depraved world, full of wickedness.

Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

Shem realized that he owed his existence to his father who brought him into the world.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Law-Abiding Citizen
‘That Which Is Crooked Cannot Be Made Straight…’
(Yevamos 22a-b)

The flood was not sent to destroy, but to restore the positive potential of the world.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Why is there is no mention of dinosaurs, and other prehistoric animals, in the Torah?

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

Surprisingly, my husband and one son arrived home over half-an-hour earlier than usual. I excitedly shared my perfect-timing story, but my better half one upped me easily.

Noach felt a tug, and then heard a rip. His jacket had been caught on the nail, and the beautiful suit had a tear.

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

The Babel story is the 2nd in a 4-act drama that’s unmistakably a connecting thread of Bereishit

Our intentions are critical in raising children because they mimic everything we parents do & think

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

More Articles from Naama Klein
Lessons-in-Emunah-new

Surprisingly, my husband and one son arrived home over half-an-hour earlier than usual. I excitedly shared my perfect-timing story, but my better half one upped me easily.

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

In contrast to her Eicha-like lamentations of the previous hour or more, however, my youngest was now grinning from ear-to-ear.

The answers, though, were out there, waiting patiently and shimmering in the distance until the One with all the answers decided to enlighten us.

Our home is in the center of the Holy Land, surrounded by (what else?) green hills and valleys.

Our son-in-law e-mailed tickets for us to print out and bring along to allow us admittance. Simple enough.

In fact, if the Mother of the Year Award featured a category for best worrier, I would be a major contender.

Predictably, my husband agrees and is fine with either night. But after reminding him that he steadily delivers a shiur in his shul on Tuesday nights, he chooses Wednesday, offering a topic related to the Four Sons of Haggadah fame.

The exact details of that nocturnal levayah have long since faded from my memory. However, one poignant story shook me to the core of my being – and remains with me still.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/from-darkness-to-light/2013/08/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: